Are you afraid of getting married again?

by singlemomseeking on February 4, 2011

A single mom asked me this recently: “Did you feel afraid to get married a second time? I mean, what if it doesn’t last… again?”

Hard swallow. The truth is: Just as much as I was SO excited to begin this journey with my new man, I had some fears, too.

After saying “yes” to Chris’ proposal, it took about 15 minutes for the reality of getting married to set in. Anyone who has been married before (or is married now) knows that it’s so much more than a legal agreement. This time around, there’s my daughter: which means everything I feel about respect and integrity was doubled on that fact alone.

I’ve been around long enough to know forever is an idea. Life brings challenges and change. How do I know that that he’ll stay present through it all? (How do I know that I will, too?) Trust is a process. I can say this out loud 20 times a day. I can write it my journal. I can make these words spin as my screen saver. But how do you actually FEEL that kind of trust in your gut, every day, in the middle of any conflict?

During the months preceding our wedding, odd things would set off my fear, like:

A weekend passing by and getting no time to myself. (I’d learned to cherish my alone time as a single mom. Would I still be able to make time for ME?)

Or, watching the movie “Before Coco Chanel,” the incredible story of the determined, ambitious French designer in the 1900s, who’d vowed to never get married so that she could focus on her career and become successful (which she did). I cried at the end of the movie, as I asked myself: Is it possible to be in a committed, loving relationship with a man… and still succeed as you follow your passions?

Or, future-tripping about packing up my things and moving. Again.

Sometimes my fear comes out in angry pain. I’m working on facing it without shame, openly and honestly, so hopefully it can dissolve. It seems to be working.

If you got married again as a single parent, did you have similar fears? How have you overcome them?

If you’re dating as a single parent, how do you feel about the thought of getting married again?


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary Jacobs Trout February 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

Though I was not a single parent, nor was this my second marriage, getting married at 37 and the massive changes this stimulated (moved cross country, closed down business, became unemployed), was axis shifting. What helped me the most (besides the ativan my OB prescribed me!) was the book; What no one tells the bride. I recommend it to anyone transitioning from Fabulous single to married.

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singlemomseeking February 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I always love getting book recommendations. Thanks Hilary. I’m going to check out “What no one tells the bride.”

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Naked Girl in a Dress February 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

This was a great piece! Thank you for sharing this with us.

I am writing about relationships right now on my blog so love and relationships has been on my mind a lot lately.

I am a firm “maybe” on the thought of remarrying. I am so happy with my life and the home environment with the kids. I love our home and community. To disrupt our lives with a new marriage and the challenge of blending a family, I need to find the perfect man for me. I could imagine loving someone, but not believing this next step (marriage) would work for us. If that happens, I am happy to be in a long-term relationship without marrying.

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Q Turner February 5, 2011 at 10:02 am

When I got divorced after my first marriage, my mother was very upset. She told me, “I just don’t want you to close your heart to the IDEA of marriage, and I’m afraid that’s what you’ll do.” So I made it my mission to not let my first failed marriage set the tone for the rest of my love life. I determined to love being single for a while, and when I did meet a man (who is now my husband) I cherished (and continue to cherish) every moment of life I can with him. I don’t in any way condone settling down for a second marriage in a way that makes a woman compromise her happiness or make too many concessions for the sake of companionship, but when love rears its head, girl, you gotta jump on it and ride the lightning or suffer storms of regret!

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Anna February 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

Well, I’ve found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, and we are committed to each other, and he is committed to my son, too. Will we get married? I don’t know. If he asked me, I would say yes in a heartbeat, but if not, I’d be perfectly happy with that, as well. I don’t see marriage as the goal, like I did the first time around. I see a loving committed relationship as the be-all, end-all.

All I know is that the decision we’ve made, that I will be the one to move to him (we are 900 miles apart right now) is the scary part. I have a good job that I’ve had for 10 years, so leaving that job and moving to something new, moving halfway across the country, and the transition that will mean for my son, that’s the scary part.
But I trust him completely. And I trust myself, too.

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singlemomseeking February 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Anna: it REALLY is about trusting yourself just as much as it is about trusting him, isn’t it?

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Shannon February 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Never for one moment did I hesitate in marrying my husband this time around. Before we got back together though…I swore steadfastly, (and its the reason we broke up the first time), that I would never, never, never get married again. That if a love as great as mine and BsDaddy’s love didn’t work…well there was no chance there could be anything that WOULD work. I was wrong. Very wrong. It’s different, but it’s good and right and based on trust and mutual respect and the very fact that I had to live two years without him and missed him every single day. <3 Yes, I made the right choice…and you did too.

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T February 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Yes.

xxoo

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Jolene February 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

While I don’t have kids, I can relate to this too. I am afraid to marry again, as sometimes I think it’s okay not to remarry (if you are in a solid relationship with no plans for kids, for example)…but I struggle with it because I love the security feeling of being married, even if that can sometimes be a false sense of security. I go with ‘never say never’ for now for myself!

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SDMktg February 9, 2011 at 11:32 am

I have to admit that I have a lot of fear when it comes to getting married again. The first time around I was one of those people who “just knew” it was right…but it wasn’t. My ex broke my heart and it took a long time to get past that. In some ways it’s like when you wreck a new car. You can repair it but it’s never quite the same.

I really want that “you just know” feeling again but I’m older, I have two kids and a lot more to lose and life is way more complicated. Now I have to learn to live with uncertainty and make peace with it. I’m with someone that I want to spend my life with but we can’t seem to catch the breaks we need right now to make it work so we have to be patient for now.

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QTMama February 11, 2011 at 8:09 am

Gotta love T’s answer. So simple, yet so SURE.

I think it is just as much about trusting yourself and your feelings as it is about trusting him. Great point!

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MTFFH February 17, 2011 at 11:25 am

This is a tough one. Would I ever get married again? I believe that I am scared of making that commitment again.

Perhaps it’s the thoughts of abandonment of heart that could possibly happen again? Maybe it’s the government statistics that show that the rate of divorce for a second marriage are even steeper than for first-time marriages?

On the other hand, it’s the comfort of being with that one person meant for only you that has me sometimes thinking that it would be worth it.

Great post – has me thinking.

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singlemomseeking February 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

@MTFFH: Indeed, abandonment issues are the demons I continue to deal with, so I hear you. I believe, however, that it IS possible to heal from past hurts and trust again.

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Mary May 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I am dealing with some demons right now. I am overweight and have 2 kids. I have been with my fiancee for 2 years now and im scared that he may decide that he doesn’t want to be with me. My 1st marriage ended when he left me and our 2 kids for another woman. I love my fiancee and have been with him for 4 years. We are getting married in August and i have my dress and accessories. Im want to spend forever with him and he treats my 2 boys like they are his. Im so scared of failing again that it has been worrying me a lot the closer it gets. I just want the forever kind of relatiomship.

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singlemomseeking May 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

@Mary: Please reach out to get some support right now — someone is waiting to say “yes.” I understand the doubt. Fear is so powerful — you deserve to be loved.

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ChristyK June 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm

April 19th he asked me to marry him…I said yes…now I sit here reading everyones comments about their 2nd marriage fears, so I am not alone. He is a wonderful, kind, patient, loving man, not perfect, but neither am I. I am unsure as to where my fears are coming from?!?!? My first marriage ended within 3 years after he had affairs, and it’s been 20 years next month since the divorce of my first marriage. Maybe I need to go talk to someone…because he doesn’t understand and neither do I why at times when we start planning the wedding, I start crying, and all I really want to do is run away.

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singlemomseeking June 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm

@Christy: I REALLY get this!! So many fears come up, ones you’ve thought that you dealt with ages ago.

Talking to someone is a GREAT idea. I feel like I unleashed so much of my baggage — labeled “FEAR” — on my fiance… Yet talking to a therapist first would have been a healthier avenue. Then, I could have come back to him and communicated calmly about my anxieties, as he listened :)

Stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing.

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K September 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I feel the same way, too. Which is why I’m researching everything I possibly can on the subject (and how I ended up on this page). I am deathly terrified of going through a beautiful wedding, hopes and dreams shared with a man, followed by a heart breaking divorce. I was married for 6 years, no kids. I am still good friends with my ex husband, surprisingly, we just decided we didn’t want to suffer anymore than we already had during our marriage to each other and we made it a point to make the divorce easy on each other. That being said, it was still the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I have met a wonderful man since, who treats me wonderfully, my family adores him too. He wants to marry me, I also want to marry him. But as we inch closer to the actual proposal, looking at rings, talk about the wedding, etc. I get anxiety attacks and overanalyze every single move he makes. I break into sweats, I freak out, I panic. If I see the slightest little thing I don’t like, I automatically go into defense mode, I turn into an ice queen and blow everything way out of proportion, because I feel like these things need to be addressed and dealt with right away, otherwise I feel like we will fail. I cannot explain it, he sometimes feels like I want out of our relationship and sometimes I feel like I just want to run away from everything. Good grief! I mean, I feel like I’m going insane. I know have a great thing going and the love of an amazing man. But I guess I’m just paranoid of failing again? It’s nice to know that perhaps these fears are somewhat “normal” for divorcees? I wish you the best of luck with everything!

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K September 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Also – One more thing, I found this list that really helped me on a second brides board. I thought maybe it would help you too :-)
Its normal to feel guilty that you are having a second wedding
Its normal to feel scared to commit again
Its normal to have some doubts
Its normal to worry that your credibility is in question since you vowed “forever” once before (but it is important to know that your credibility is NOT actually in question, because things change)
Its normal to question whether or not you should take his name
Its normal to worry about what others think
Its normal to read the etiquette posts and want to cry
Its normal to WANT to have the wedding of your dreams for the man of your dreams
Its normal to want all the cheesey things first brides get:)
Its normal to be more scared of moving in and combining your belongings than it is to get married
Its normal to put up walls
It’s normal NOT to have the support of every family member
It’s normal to want to “connect” with other 2nd timers
It’s normal to “test” him … again and again
It’s normal to think at first – we don’t deserve certain things
It’s normal to cry/be upset when reminded of the first failure
It’s normal to keep putting things off (that guilt thing again)
It’s normal to have issues when kids are involved
It’s normal to feel like you have the letter ” D ” on your forehead
YES, it’s normal to be HAPPY and EXCITED when you’re ready to accept it! *
Its normal to have heightened anxiety
Its normal to overanalyze every single comment he makes, about you, your kids, your future, your wedding…looking for the cue that its going to fall apart.
Its normal to partition off (is that what you meant by walls, Sassee?) those parts of you that were hurt the worst in the past, and be cautious about being vulnerable to him.
Its normal to be MamaBear where your kids are concerned, and to be surprised when you feel those MamaBear feelings about HIS kids, or when he becomes PaPa Bear with yours.
Its normal to look up waiting for the other shoe to drop
Its normal to sometimes just find yourself smiling again
Its normal to have just learned the definition of healthy (no matter how old you are)
Its normal to need to go to therapy
Its normal to be a control freak
Its normal to not be good at asking for help (Pealie, these last two are for us)
Its normal for you to feel like you have to keep your excitement a secret
Its normal to be afraid to lose the BEST thing that has happened to you in a very long time.
Its normal to wake up at night & look at him and be amazed he’s there.
Its normal to want a GUARANTEE that he will not be taken from you by some freak event.
It is normal to feel uncomfortable but grateful when your family/friends want to throw parties/showers to celebrate your happiness.
It is normal to be pleasantly surprised when FI does not act/respond like DH did.
It is normal to feel bad that you get two weddings and some of your good friends have not had one yet.
It is normal to obsess about your dress and wonder if it is ‘appropriate’ enough but realize that sackcloth and ashes for you would not match with tuxes and pretty dresses for everyone else!
It is normal to not have something (garter, bouquet toss, etc)for your second wedding just because you had it for your first.
It is normal to worry about your child(ren) getting enough love and attention since you now have FI.
It’s normal to want your family to be just as happy this time as the last time!
It’s normal to cut and paste this into a document that you can refer to daily, just to remind yourself of exactly how normal you are!
It’s NORMAL to worry what his family specifically thinks of you, your kids, your parenting style, whatever.
It’s NORMAL to have a few bumps in the road with the stepkids.
It’s NORMAL to wonder who’s going to compile this into one list and repost it so we can all print it out and post it somewhere prominent. LOL!
It’s NORMAL to wonder if he’s for real because he’s just SO perfect for you and your family. It’s NORMAL for things you hated in your past marriage to bother you now. You just have to explain to FI why.

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singlemomseeking September 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

@K: It’s so generous of you to post this list — oh my, do I see myself here!!!
I’m learning to be patient and loving. Our 1st anniversary is this month!
Stay in touch, ok?

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featchy1 October 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

I’m also scared, I totlaly see myself here. I worry about things my FI says and does wondering if they are real issues that will cause problems in the future or if I am just overananlyzing becasue I’m scared.
The real issue is that I don’t trust myself. I don’t think I know how to recognize whether what I’m seeing with my FI is a recipe for disaster or just someone who is not perfect being a little thoughtless at times.
I knew there things about my ex that I was not happy about before we got married but I went ahead anyway. I failed to give these nagging doubts the consideration they deserved and they turned out to be deal breaking issues.

HELP!!!
I’m so scared of repeating my past mistake.

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